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October 2011 State Board News

NCLB Waivers – The Kansas State Board of Education Votes to Join 39 States Seeking a Waiver

The Kansas State Board of Education voted 8-1 Tuesday to seek a waiver from the current requirements of No Child Left Behind.  Board Member Walt Chappell of Wichita opposed the motion and John Bacon, R-Olathe was absent. The motion was made to direct the Department of Education staff to develop a waiver request for the February application deadline. If approved, the changes could take effect next school year.
President Obama in a speech last month announced states will be able to seek waivers from key provisions of the ten-year-old NCLB law.

The ESEA flexibility package will require states to address the following four required principles of:

1.      College and career ready standards and aligned assessments;

2.      A rigorous state accountability system;

3.      A commitment to design, pilot, and implement a system of teacher and leader evaluations based significantly on student growth measures; and

4.      A commitment to evaluate and adjust state-level administrative and reporting requirements to reduce burden on districts and schools.

KNEA will closely follow the application process and contents of the Kansas Waiver Request.

State Report Card

Kansas students continued improve their performance on the statewide reading and mathematics assessments for the 11th straight year. Results showed that in the areas of reading and mathematics, there are higher percentages of students performing at the exemplary level than at any of the other four performance levels on the assessments.

The percentage of Kansas students meeting the proficiency standard on state reading and math tests increased again this year, despite concerns over the impact of state budget cuts.  
State reading and math tests are given to students in grades three through eight plus once in high school, and are used to determine whether a school or district makes “adequate yearly progress” under the No Child Left Behind Act. 

The 2011 report shows many minority groups and low income students continue to lag behind their peers, but the differences continued to narrow.  The percentage of students who traditionally had lower performance actually  increased significantly, especially free and reduced lunch students and Hispanic students.  Overall scores have increased because the performance of these groups has improved at a faster rate.

 In Other Action The Board 

  •  Approved a request to modify the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative Agreement.

  • Approved the Education Flexibility Partnership Waiver

  • Approved a request from USD 231 to approve a bond election

  • Approved a contract with the Goffin Strategy Group, Inc. for the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the State Board of Education is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, November 8 and 9, in Topeka. The agenda and meeting materials should be available on the KSDE website by Tuesday, November 1.

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